Ethics and Management
Introduction to ethics
The United States public is increasingly concerned with ethics. A great number of professors are teaching courses in ethics and more students are studying ethics more than ever before. Incidents from Vietnam to Washington have reminded us that people in all walks of life are vulnerable to doing what is wrong. During the past decade, the Coast Guard Academy and other educational centers have shown increasing interest in the study of ethical principles. Most officer cadet schools require that all cadets to take professional ethics seminar prior to graduation.
There are some major barriers to the acceptance of ethics as a discipline of value in public administration. The first barrier is the ethic of neutrality describes the ideal manager as a completely reliable instrument of the goals of the organization, never injecting individual values into the process of furthering these goals. This view of passive ethics reinforces the illusion that managers do not exercise independent moral judgment, and that managers are therefore insulated from external accountability for the consequences of decisions.
The ethic of neutrality rules out, in advance, the possibility of morally acceptable internal opposition to decisions of the organization. It oversimplifies the manager's job, making no requirements for the wide range of substantive moral decisions made on a regular basis and restrictive the manager's courses of action to obedience or resignation. This perspective is neither realistic nor popular. A cadre of morally passive manager's would not possess the necessary fortitude expected of military leaders.
Ethical pressures of Coast Guard professional are the rules, goals, and situations that provide the framework and criteria for determining what is right and wrong, good and bad. The moment that decision-making is questioned for the military professional the decision is crowded with signals...